Area county commissioners discuss remedies for regional jail bill costs

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) County commissioners form across West Virginia want lawmakers this coming year to address the costs of housing prisoners in the state's regional jail system.

The head of the state commissioners association told both lawmakers and county officials Friday it is presenting a list of possible remedies to West Virginia House Speaker Tim Armstead.
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One proposed change: transferring prisoners to the state department of corrections after they are found guilty at trial, rather than waiting until they are sentenced.

"They are convicted on a state charge," said Executive Director Vivian Parsons, "and once they are finally sentenced, they are given credit for time served, against that state sentence. And the county is paying that part of the bill."

That cost is now $48.50 a day, for each prisoner housed, and the increase in drug cases means the jail bill continues to rise as well.

Legislators continue to seek increased funding for the state crime lab, in hopes criminal cases can get to trial sooner.